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Shoulder bag with beaded strap, geometric bead and quill design and beaded tassels | Donald Ellis Gallery

Shoulder Bag


Northern Ontario or Manitoba

ca. 1840


woollen broadcloth, porcupine quills, glass beads, hide

height: 30"
width: 8 ½"

Inventory # W3635


This rare, early shoulder bag was collected by Arthur Speyer Sr. (1894-1958), the son of an entomologist and mineralogist in Hamburg, Germany. The Speyer Collection was one of the most important collections of Northeastern Woodlands objects in private hands, consisting entirely of works from the 18th and early 19th century.  Arthur Speyer’s passion for collecting was later shared by his son, Arthur Speyer Jr., who continued to expand the collection following his father’s death. The Speyer collection was first displayed publicly in 1968 at the Deutsches Ledermuseum in Offenbach, West Germany, during the International Congress of Americanists. In 1973, the Canadian Museum of Civilization acquired the majority of the Speyer Collection, and exhibited the works in the seminal show “Bo’jou, Neejee!” (see: Brasser, 1976).